This Is Real Life


Suzanne McDonald

This is real life. Scene from inside the “faith-based” Rescue Mission homeless shelter in Tennessee:

“I should have had my camera out to photograph a man kissing his wife through the chain link fence that separates men from women.”

The REASON the camera wasn’t out is because using cell phones and cameras are not ALLOWED inside the shelter


YOUR government subsidized low-income housing, owned and managed by two Michigan-based PRIVATE companies.

Yeah, they put people in roach infested motels, too — including families with children. It’s called “supports” and “stability” for homeless families and children.

Yup, this is an example of the few government “services” out there to “assist” people who are homeless and on the verge. People who have not been there will tell you with confidence that you “just” need to go on down to the County offices and sign up for “housing assistance” with “supportive services”… And then wait for a year or two on the HUD waiting list for your number to come up to stay at one of these nightmarish places — complete with mold and roaches — that your government contracts with private for-profit companies to “manage.”


FACTS about being homeless in the USA

Fact #2. Cities are increasingly making homelessness a crime

A survey of 187 cities by the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty found: 24% make it a city-wide crime to beg in public; 33% make it illegal to stand around or loiter anyplace in the city; 18% make it a crime to sleep anywhere in public; 43% make it illegal to sleep in your car; and 53% make it illegal to sit or lie down in particular public places. And the number of cities criminalizing homelessness is steadily increasing.

For more information look to the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty, the National Center for Homeless Education and the National Coalition on the Homeless.


The ACLU of Oregon has called on Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler and Police Chief Danielle Outlaw to investigate reports of police profiling and harassment of homeless individuals in Portland.

HALF of all arrests in Portland are people who are houseless. Some people will interpret the high rate of arrests to mean that they are all dangerous criminals, but consider how homelessness itself is criminalized. The ACLU issued a report last year documenting 224 laws in Oregon that target people who are homeless. It identified laws that target people for sitting and sleeping in public places and cars, asking for food or money, and for “loitering.” In other words, laws that matter only if you are homeless.

Businesses, restaurants, and residents who have houses need to STOP calling the cops on homeless people for simply being in your view. We are RESIDENTS, too.

Editor’s Note: Writer and poet Suzanne McDonald has been homeless in Oregon, Tennessee and several other states.


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